Recently, I hosted a “Wicked Wine Tasting” featuring Sterling Wines. I had just under forty guests, and I think everyone had a great time. I created each invitation individually and hand delivered them. Some guests received a broomstick which was suggested to serve as transportation to the party, others received a “poison” apple and were told that the antidote would only be available at the party. Other guests received a potion bottle with spell instructions that included gathering in a forest (my town name includes Woods) with other relatively cool mortals after dark (the party started at 7 PM). A few lucky guests received a bottle of poison (a single serving liquor bottle which I covered with a vintage poison sticker).
As for the menu, I served a lot of hot and cold appetizers, one main dish and several desserts. Each menu item was paired with a particular Sterling wine, and the wines were on the table next to the complimentary food. All guests were greeted out front by the Butler (Bryan) and were given a wine glass with a unique vintage poison label wine charm. They were also poured a glass of Sterling Chardonnay with a small piece of dry ice to give it that smoking, bubbling effect.
I served a cheese tray which was a bit of a departure from my standard because I used all well aged cheeses (labeled “rotten cheese”). Beside the cheese tray I served a Sterling Pinot Grigio. Some other appetizers included “devilled” eggs, which were made to resemble bloodshot eyeballs, escargot (simply labeled “snails”), shrimp cocktail (labeled “crustaceons”), chicken salad in Belgian endive, Caviar Moons, and bacon wrapped potatoes. Those were paired with a Sterling Sauvignon Blanc. For the main course I served a short rib beef goulash with pumpkin and parsnips (labeled “graveyard ghoulash”). Guests really enjoyed the chipotle pumpkin soup which I served with a Sterling Meritage (one of my favorites). I also served a gorgonzola polenta to go with the goulash. This was paired with a 2009 Sterling Syrah. Desserts included a Lizzie Borden Cake (red velvet) and Cabernet cupcakes (sounds weird, but they are really good); the obvious choice of wine for these desserts was a Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon.
I also made mini pumpkin cheesecakes with a quince zinfindel glaze; these were served the Sterling Zinfindel.
Everyone was very impressed with the “little details” around the house, including the outside. I think we may be the only house in our town that has a full-sized cauldron in the front yard. I decided I wanted a creepy tree in the yard. I found a dead tree on a strip of public land and Bryan cut it down for me. Luckily, it was close to home because I had to ride in the back of the truck and hold the base because the tree wouldn’t fit in the truck. However, in my opinion, the finest additions to the outdoor scape were the handcrafted “witch’s chairs” and benches that Bryan made. Inside, I swapped out all of our regular family photos with creepy pictures of bats, snakes, graveyards, wicked looking trees, and, of course, witches. I even swapped out some of our normal artwork with creepy mirrors and pictures. I draped the kitchen and living room windows with black fabric for valances and puts cobwebs everywhere. I had skulls, snakes, mice, spiders and potions placed all around.
I didn’t have too many decorating options for the buffet table because it was packed with food and serving dishes. I did serve the chipotle pumpkin soup of a good sized pumpkin which I set in a chafing dish (believe it or not, the soup did stay hot this way). I also served the chorizo con queso dip out of a pumpkin (featured in my last post).
We set-up a tent outside with alternative beverages for those who don’t like wine (who doesn’t like wine?), but the wine was definitely the hit, particularly because it was paired with the food. We also had a firepit outside and people enjoyed hanging out there (it get’s hot inside with nearly 40 people). While I wouldn’t normally turn the tv on during a party, our Detroit Tigers were playing their first home game of the World Series, so we had to at least check-in on the game on occasion. After the Tigers lost, those of us who remained (probably 15 of us) gathered for a crazy game of celebrities. For those of you who have never played, you should look it up on-line; it is a blast. At the end of the night, I was able to finally read everything that had been written on the bathroom wall (I found this great chalkboard paper that sticks to the wall); I would say a good time was had by all.
I am submitting an entry for the Sterling Vineyards Ultimate Host Contest; hopefully my party was cool enough to earn me the title of Ultimate Host. Regardless of the outcome, I had a great time with great friends and great wine and food.
You can check-out the movie I made as my entry for the contest:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Fi_mKWemWc&feature=youtu.be